For three weeks now, Bea has had hospice. What a wonderful organization! Hospice & Palliative Care of Cape Cod provides the services of a nurse, a chaplain, a social worker, and health aides who come into the house several times a week, an amazing resource and comfort network for both elderly person and caregiver. Bea especially enjoys her health aide, Lisa, who always arrives with an infectious smile that brightens the bedroom. To Sven and I, hospice visits feel like manna from Heaven.
On her way out, Lisa gives me a little report.
One of her jobs is to give Bea a bed bath. Today, she tells Mother that instead of just a bath she intends to get her all “gussied up.”
“Gussied up,” Bea says in a voice that indicates she recognizes the expression but cannot remember from where.
Lisa explains it is an old-fashioned term that goes beyond being cleaned up and means in fact more being made to sparkle.
Bea nods and dozes off. Lisa sits quietly by her bedside for several minutes. When Mother wakes after her power nap, she looks up and says, “I’m ready to get gussied up.”